Field hockey squad falls 4-1 to Wildcats

By Chris Sigley

Besides fighting against 11th-ranked Northwestern, the NIU field hockey team had to battle a strong wind which continually blew one of the scoring cages over in yesterday’s match.

The Wildcats prevailed 4-1 over the Huskies.

“I thought the wind would make a difference for us in the second half, but it didn’t,” head coach Laurie Bell said. “I think the cage blowing over was distracting to both teams. I know it was an irritant to both coaches.”

The Huskies had more problems than the wind, as their inconsistent play and inexperience dropped their record to 3-11-1.

“We need to work out the kinks,” Bell said. “Inconsistency is to be expected because of our youth, but the kinks will come out with experience.”

The Huskies had hoped to rebound from their 2-0 loss against No. 2 North Carolina Tuesday but were unable to slow the Wildcats’ attack which took 33 shots on goal compared to the Huskies’ four.

“We held North Carolina to two goals which is something not many schools are able to do,” Bell said. “Coming off North Carolina, I had hoped we would make fewer mistakes. I expected us to come in today and play even with Northwestern.

“I think the kids expected a better game from themselves, too. Unfortunately, the mistakes kept creeping up today. It’s the fundamental mistakes that are hurting us although we’re still a much improved team from the start of the season.”

The Huskies escaped a shutout with a short-corner shot by junior Anne Zalewski. With the goal, Zalewski increased her team-leading 18 points, including six goals and six assists.

“Anne’s goal was a nice shot,” Bell said. “She’s been our most consistent player this season, and she showed it again today.”

Bell does not feel the record does the team justice for its work.

“We’ve lost a lot of one-goal games, and we’re coming out better despite our losing,” Bell said. “This is the first time these girls have gone up against the Iowans and the Carolinas, so they’ll know what to expect next year.”

The Huskies are finished with season play, but will participate in the Midwest Conference Tournament Nov. 5-7 in Louisville, Ky.

“We’ll be facing teams that beat us earlier in the season, but we’ve improved a lot through the season, so we should do well,” Bell said.